2010-12-27

U.S. timber industry's fickle friend

The United States and Canada are generally amicable neighbors, except when it comes to what constitutes fair trade. U.S. wood-products manufacturers are again accusing the British Columbian government of hurting them by using a flawed log-grading system to keep the province's mills running during the industry's worst slump since the Great Depression.

U.S. mill owners are pushing American trade officials to ask an international court to crack down on what they say are Canada's unfair trade practices. U.S. mills charge the province with deviously using a pine-beetle infestation as an excuse to underprice public timber, giving Canadian lumber suppliers a competitive edge.

It's the latest round in a decades-old dispute between adjoining regions with vast timberlands.